Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Preview: Top sleeper pitchers include Dinelson Lamet, Danny Duffy
Whether your league is going with the extra short four-day scoring period or extra long 11-day scoring period coming out of the break, Scott White has some sleeper recommendations.
Ah, the All-Star break ... once again paying no mind to the way Fantasy Baseball leagues operate.
As always, we'll be thrust back into the action mid-week, which means the standard Monday-Sunday scoring period won't be possible. It presents your league with two alternatives: Opt for a shorter Week 16 that lasts Thursday-Sunday, consisting of only four days, or opt for a longer Week 16 that lumps those four days in with the week of July 15, creating an 11-day scoring period.
For the good of everyone involved, this decision was hopefully made long ago.
Most of you fall into the first category: the four-day scoring period, which means of course there are no two-start pitchers. So instead, I'm presenting you with 10 one-start sleepers, which may prove especially useful if one of your go-tos isn't scheduled to pitch at all.
But if you fall into the second category and are looking at an 11-day scoring period, I've got you covered, too, with a few two-start sleeper suggestions a little further down. One of them (no spoilers!) may even be in line for three starts.
I'd be remiss not to point out that both of these lists are highly speculative. That's true anytime you're predicting pitching matchups a few days out, but this week more than ever. With an opportunity to reset the starting rotation however they so choose, most managers are as noncommittal as a college undergrad, forcing me to make educated guesses in many cases. I'll tweak the lists as more information becomes available, but if you happen to spot something before I do, I'd appreciate you pointing it out to me on Twitter (@CBSScottWhite).
Also note that all pitchers mentioned here are owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
SD San Diego • #29 • Age: 27
Making his return from Tommy John surgery last time out, Dinelson Lamet struck out seven over five three-hit innings against the Dodgers, of all teams, so the Braves matchup shouldn't intimidate him. He made heavy use of his whifftastic slider in that one, too, which is another good sign.
ARI Arizona • #29 • Age: 30
Merrill Kelly ended the first half on a high note, delivering five quality starts in his final seven overall for a 2.98 ERA. Maybe his skills are still in question, but the Cardinals team he's facing has the seventh-worst OPS against righties.
Danny Duffy SP
KC Kansas City • #41 • Age: 30
The first matchup play on this list isn't anyone's idea of a reliable pitcher, but to give credit where credit's due, Danny Duffy has four quality starts in his past five and eight in 13 overall. He allowed two earned runs in seven innings the last time he faced the Tigers, striking out seven.
Jason Vargas SP
NYM N.Y. Mets • #44 • Age: 36
Another play that's liable to give you heart palpitations, Jason Vargas is nonetheless facing the Marlins and has thrown six-plus innings with some regularity over the past month and a half. He could give you a sneaky good start with only moderate risk of disaster, considering the opponent.
Brad Keller SP
KC Kansas City • #56 • Age: 23
Brad Keller has at times been a quality Fantasy play thanks mostly to a high ground-ball rate, but the walks have been too high for him to be anything close to reliable this year. Hopefully against the toothless Tigers, it won't matter too much.
Zac Gallen SP
MIA Miami • #52 • Age: 23
Zac Gallen is also no guarantee for the first series — no guarantee to make another start at all, in fact, now that Caleb Smith is off the IL — and may be rusty given that rain removed him from his last start after only two innings back on July 2. But decent matchup and, yeah, lots of talent.
HOU Houston • #59 • Age: 25
Framber Valdez's return from the minors won't be met with much fanfare after he was crushed in his last two major-league starts, and the matchup for this one is pretty deadly. Still, he has a great lineup backing him and the right skill set for this environment, combining an elite ground-ball rate with a decent number of strikeouts.
OAK Oakland • #30 • Age: 31
Brett Anderson's one skill is basically his ability to keep the ball on the ground, but it's worked out for him pretty well so far. Facing a weak lineup in a big park gives him a reasonable chance of succeeding this week as well.
And now for some two-start sleepers for those combining the stray four days with the week of July 15. Framber Valdez is the pitcher I mentioned earlier who may actually be in line for three starts — the third, like the first, coming against the Rangers — but because his hold on a rotation spot is tenuous, it'll depend on the way the first two starts go.
The risk is great, but the rare chance at getting three starts from a pitcher might make it worth it, especially in a points league.
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